Reposting a statement by Jeff Koons, originally quoted on LACMA’s blog1:
‘Statuary’ presents a panoramic view of society: on one side there is Louis XIV and on the other side there is Bob Hope. If you put art in the hands of the monarch it will reflect his ego and eventually become decorative. If you put art in the hands of the masses, it will reflect mass ego and eventually become decorative. If you put art in the hands of Jeff Koons it will reflect my ego and eventually become decorative.2
I think that deserves more attention. So, the impact of ego necessarily shifts art into decoration? Koons seems to be putting forward the King’s and the Masses’ (and by extension—immodestly/self-deprecatingly?—his own) as kinds of absolutist egos, egos in some final, bloated, cancerous state, smothering (“reflecting”) all, and leaving decoration in its wake. But what is decorative? Shininess does not necessarily mean decoration, after all. The pieces illustrated on the blog article go beyond decoration precisely through the attention Koons brings to them by presenting them as decoration. Strange: he asks us to consider them as decoration, and by doing so immediately undoes that very quality in the object. Not strange, typical of Koons.
- The LACMA Blog: Echoes of Louis XIV. Retrieved 2009/08/25.
- —The Jeff Koons Handbook (London: Anthony d’Offay Gallery, 1992), p. 76.
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